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L124C 11-18-2011 05:42 PM

How many monitor VHF 16 while sailing?
It's seems to me that few of the other sailors I have sailed with or talk to, monitor channel 16 on a regular basis while sailing. This concerns me, because in my relatively short sailing career, I have come to the aid of two other Skippers, one who was sinking, the other was disabled. Though they were in my general area, I would have never known about either of them had I not been monitoring 16.
Last week, I heard a Mayday from a 52 foot boat which was sinking off the Coast of San Francisco. The Skipper climbed into a dingy, and the boat went down in about ten minutes or less. I know this because I heard a tug boat Skipper on 16, who was watching the event and talking with the Coast Guard, while towing a barge. A fishing boat came on the scene, as did a Coast Guard helicopter. It soon became apparent to me that I was more aware of what was going on than the Coast Guard station that initially responded to the Mayday. Though they must have dispatched the Helicopter, they were not even aware it, or the fishing boat were at the scene! In fact, they seemed confused in general as to what was happening, as if they hadn't heard everything I had. Ironically, they should have heard more than me, as I was a long way from the incident. My point being - often, other skippers are in the best position to be the first responders. They can't respond if they are not aware of the situation. Do most of the skippers you know monitor 16?

Tim R. 11-18-2011 05:46 PM

Every time I go out I set the radio to scan between 13, 16 and 22.

MarkSF 11-18-2011 05:47 PM

I thought it was compulsory if you have a VHF, to be monitoring 16?

Yes, I keep mine on all the time. Have a handheld in the cockpit and the fixed down below, both on. The fixed has better reception, but the handheld is easier to hear...

I haven't known anyone who does not.

Donna_F 11-18-2011 06:04 PM


Originally Posted by MarkSF (Post 798344)
I thought it was compulsory if you have a VHF, to be monitoring 16?

Yes. In the US, if you have a VHF radio on board, you must monitor ch. 16.

CaptainForce 11-18-2011 06:06 PM

If we are passage-making, in or out of inlets, offshore or out of our home waters, then we are monitoring 16. If we are daysailing in our protected inland waters, then we are not. Take care and joy, Aythya crew

RichH 11-18-2011 06:08 PM

Not compulsory if you dont have a 'required' license --- ie.: vessel engaged in 'commerce'.

Since the advent of Ch09 as the primary hailing channel, I monitor Ch16 at most times on a Tri-Scan (16/09/13) when moving. Before 09 was the primary hailing channel, I didnt want to listen to the endless cacophony on 16.

Im still waiting for boaters to use DSC -put in place place to reduce all the 'broadcast nonsense'- , but Ill be older than Mathuselah when that ever happens 'functionally'.

Donna_F 11-18-2011 06:14 PM


Originally Posted by RichH (Post 798351)
Not compulsory if you dont have a 'required' license --- ie.: vessel engaged in 'commerce'.

In general, any vessel equipped with a VHF marine radiotelephone (whether voluntarily or required to) must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radiotelephone is not being used to communicate.

Source: FCC 47 CFR 80.148, 80.310, NTIA Manual, ITU RR 31.17, 33.18, AP13 25.2

tempest 11-18-2011 06:15 PM

Ditto, monitor 16, 13, 9 above with handheld and below with ships radio. Will switch to 22 to listen to CG securites.

Ajax_MD 11-18-2011 06:22 PM

I do.

JordanH 11-18-2011 06:41 PM

It's not compulsory in Canada.

We monitor 16 and often 68 (our yacht clubs are on 68 here) when sailing in Lake Ontario.

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